It was last night, at just around 7:30pm. I had watched a YouTube video named “The Dark Side of Reddit”, or something to that effect, and one of the featured subreddits was r/controllablewebcams. Wanting to see for myself, I went on over, and the very first link at the top was the one I’m referring to in this post. The link was “[Controllable] Warehouse” and it had been submitted “just now”.
I clicked it, a new window popped up, and it was what the title had promised: a view of a warehouse. There was an open space in the middle of the floor, bordered on three sides by countless boxes of various sizes. I used the controls and panned left and right, finding just more boxes, then some racks against the walls on either side with things I couldn’t really discern. It wasn’t really much to look at, so I clicked to back to Reddit or something and didn’t give it a second thought.
My wife and I watched a movie a short time later, and after that I sat back down to my computer. I was reading something when I heard the first scrape. I wasn’t sure what it was, so I just kept doing what I was doing. Then I heard it again, and again. I couldn’t figure out at first where it was coming from, and I’m sure you can imagine how dumb I felt when I realized it was coming from my laptop. I hadn’t noticed that one of my open tabs had that little speaker icon on it, designating it as the tab currently playing audio.
I clicked over to it, and it was the warehouse camera tab that I’d all but forgotten about. But it wasn’t all still as it was when I’d initially opened it. The camera was still as I’d left it earlier, which was off to the right. I was interested in seeing some actual activity at the warehouse so I panned back to the left, to the center of the view. What I saw was people getting out of the boxes. Men, women, children. They were pushing open the tops of the boxes, clawing their ways through the sides of the boxes, doing whatever they needed to to get out of the boxes.
The people were pale. Not like ghostly white or anything, but their skin just had a lighter hue to it, like they hadn’t gotten any sun in a long while. All of the women wore the same thing, a tan, single-piece dress that fell nearly to their ankles, and their hair all seemed to be the same length and brown color. The resolution of the video wasn’t that great, considering that it was what I’m assuming was a security camera. The men all wore pants and shirts the same color as the women’s dresses, and their hair was the same color as well. Each man was the same height as the other men, every woman the same height as the other women.
I clicked back over to the reddit tab from which the new window containing the warehouse camera had opened and found that the page had refreshed at some point. I wanted to check the comments and see if anyone else was watching what I was watching. I couldn’t find the post on r/controllablewebcams, so I went to my history. It wasn’t there either, so I assumed it had been deleted. All the while I was searching for the original post, I was hearing more boxes being torn open, and was beginning to hear the rumblings of various voices.
I clicked back over there were at least 40 people in the warehouse at that point. Then, I watched as a woman tore open the top of a box and began pulling babies out of it. From one box she removed seven babies, the genders of which I couldn’t discern. They all had the same color hair as the adults, and they wore tan onesies over their similarly pale skin. More women opened more boxes and removed from them more babies, and at the end of it all, there must have been 40 babies, maybe 20 toddlers, and a total of roughly 60 adults. As they’d emerged from the boxes the cardboard was moved to the back of the warehouse and out of sight.
The voices I’d thought I’d heard were theirs, but they weren’t speaking English, nor any language I’d ever heard. Without meaning to sound insensitive, whatever they were speaking was as close to an organized form of gibberish as I’d ever heard. A handful of them seemed to be just kind of muttering, seemingly not to anyone else.
I was so perplexed. I went back to r/controllablewebcams once again and was about to make a post with the IP address the camera was under so other people could see what I was seeing, but as I was typing it out, I noticed that I wasn’t hearing anything at all anymore. No boxes being opened or moved, no footsteps, no voices. So I clicked back over to the warehouse camera and my heart skipped a beat. Everyone in view was standing straight up, man, woman and children, the adults holding the babies, all staring straight at the camera.
I kinda froze in my seat. I just stared at them, and they stared at me. Then, from the rear of the camera view, one of the women pushed her way through, a very old woman, I’d guess, by the amount of wrinkles in her skin. She walked to the front of the group and stood there for what felt like an eternity before she started to raise her arm. She slowly lifted her hand and pointed directly at the camera. Then, she said in a frail, yet guttural, groaning voice, “Neeeek Baaaaaaaahtiiiiic” (my name is Nick Botic).
I don’t think I’ve ever actually felt my blood run cold until that moment. I started fumbling to close the window but before I could, it closed itself. As did my whole browser. I just sat there for a few moments, not sure what to do, not sure what had just happened, what I’d just witnessed. I opened Safari back up, opted to not restore my tabs, and cleared my history (what that would do, I’m not sure, but I was panicking).